Learner-driver mentor program puts disadvantaged youths on the road

SOME people take driving a car for granted, but not United Way Ballarat. 

The volunteer organisation supports a learner-driver mentor program that aims to put disadvantaged youths on the road. 

L2P mentor Wayne Scanlon with his student Lachlan Simpson and Pat Hamilton with his mentor Larelle Kuczer.

L2P mentor Wayne Scanlon with his student Lachlan Simpson and Pat Hamilton with his mentor Larelle Kuczer.

The L2P program – formerly run by Lead On Ballarat – and its 24 volunteers has helped 47 people get their licence since 2010. 

Its most recent graduates are Lachlan Simpson and Pat Hamilton. 

Mr Hamilton, who is currently unemployed, said he simply could not afford to pay for 120 hours of lessons at $50 per session.

“I’d been applying for jobs and got knocked back because I wasn’t seen as reliable without a car,” he said. 

Mr Simpson, who works in the kitchens for a Delacombe catering company, said it was “exhilarating” not having to rely on others for a ride.

Volunteer mentor Wayne Scanlon said he got a “tremendous amount of satisfaction out of helping disadvantaged kids”.

VicRoads provides $55,000 per year to fund the program. 

United Way Ballarat is looking for more volunteers as the waiting list is six to eight months.

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